At one point in Windows 10’s lifetime, you could have had Internet Explorer, the legacy version of Microsoft Edge, and the new Chromium-powered Edge all installed. This trio of browsers was the perfect illustration of Microsoft’s struggles with the web over the past decade, but now that Internet Explorer is being laid to rest in 2022, it’s disappearing from Windows 11, too.
Microsoft revealed yesterday that Internet Explorer will be “disabled” in Windows 11. At first, I was worried that it meant Internet Explorer might hang around ahead of the final nail in its coffin on June 15th, 2022, but it’s actually fully disappearing from Windows 11. “The Internet Explorer 11 desktop application will not be available on Windows 11. Microsoft Edge is the default browser for Windows 11,” explains a Microsoft spokesperson to The Verge. “The MSHTML engine exists as part of the Windows 11 operating system to power IE mode in Microsoft Edge.”
We weren’t expecting Internet Explorer to appear in Windows 11, but Microsoft did warn that the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) of Windows 10 would still include Internet Explorer next year despite a consumer removal planned for June 15th, 2022. Windows 11 will now fully remove the browser, and if you use shortcuts like iexplore, then you’ll now be redirected to Microsoft Edge instead.
It’s the first time Microsoft hasn’t bundled Internet Explorer with a new version of Windows for more than 20 years. If memory serves me correct, the Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2.5 in 1997 was the first time Microsoft explicitly bundled Internet Explorer into Windows Explorer and other key parts of Windows.
That bundling led to the infamous United States v. Microsoft antitrust battle just a year after Internet Explorer’s debut in October 1997. The rest, as they say, is history.